2nd December 2018 at 2:48 pm #70955
This is an extract from a police procedural novel I’m working on; it concerns a murder and the police initial reaction. I have based it on real life, but worry there are too many characters mention.
Chris Sessions glanced up from what he was doing, bent over sorting out the one-man skiff he had just pulled out of the river and manhandled back into the club boathouse. He had enjoyed an invigorating early Sunday morning row. Chris squinted against the brightness of the daylight through the door to the landing stage. The figure now framed in the light was not familiar to him, but people often came in looking for information on rowing or just curious.
Chris stood up straight, a tall, well-made man in his thirties; a young man who, although he worked in an office as an accounts manager for a financial services firm now. He had been in the Parachute Regiment and liked to keep himself fit, his interest in rowing was fairly new. Chris thought it was an altogether classier way of keeping fit than running around the damp pavements in the early morning and he had to admit there was a captivating beauty about the river at this time of day.
The nondescript figure approached him. When Chris looked more closely he saw that the man was solidly built with a bit of a paunch, but it was the look around his eyes that he registered the most. It was the look of an unexpected hatred, he had seen before but he couldn’t quite recall where. The man was dressed in jeans, T-shirt, and boots and had a backpack which he hefted off his shoulders and set down on the ground.
Chris waited for the man to say something. The man just stood there silently watching him which unnerved him slightly.
“Can I help you?” Chris eventually asked.
The man ignored his question and bent down to the bag at his feet. As the man straightened up, Chris registered with horror that the man was holding a sawn-off shotgun. For all his fitness, he was slow to react. As he dived to one side the barrel collided with the left side of his jaw. There was a huge flash of white light, a searing heat, and pain.
Such terrible, terrible pain!
He fell back, knocked off his feet by the blast. The man looked at the figure writhing before him and kicked him as hard as he could in the chest. Chris didn’t realise his lower jaw and tongue were a bloody mush and his screams were just pathetic mews. The man moved forward, pumped the gun and ejected the spent cartridge case and pressed the end of the barrel against the eye socket of his fallen victim. Then fired again.
Alan stepped back from the gore in front of him, ejected the cartridge case, stooped and picked it up. He returned the gun to his backpack and looked around; he’d crossed the line now. No going back. He was… what? A murderer or an avenger?
Got to move, got to hustle; three more calls to make.
* * *
The elderly man living across the little green looked out his front room window. A nosy man who liked everything in order, he was checking to see if the feckless paperboy, as he thought of him, had delivered his paper yet. He was surprised to hear a loud bang from the boathouse on the dock.
Bloody kids again, letting off the flares. He would show them this time!
He walked across the green to the landing stage when a man wearing jeans and a T-shirt appeared. The old man was not one to shirk away from poking into other people’s business and he wasn’t having any nonsense; he wanted to know what was going on. The man coming from the boathouse was in a hurry. Probably up to no good, he thought.
He demanded, “What was that? What was that noise?” but the man in the T-shirt didn’t speak and he just pushed past him.
The old man grabbed his arm. It was deceptively well muscled and solid. He turned to him and their eyes met. Any further words died on the old man’s lips.
The T-shirted man quickly walked to his car and drove off at speed.
* * *
Sandy Williams quite liked Sunday early turn. It was usually quiet and she could drive around in peace. Sandy had been a police officer for a little over three years now so she thought of herself as an experienced officer who had seen most things. She was quietly proud of the fact that she hadn’t specialized in various things that come along and take real police officers, as she liked to call herself, off the streets.
Her radio crackled into life: “Any unit, any unit. Attend the Sports Rowing Club, Thames Quay. Reports, a male injury,” the monotone voice said.
If the report and been to tell her it was Armageddon the tone would have been the same, she thought absentmindedly.
“X-ray Yankee Two One, on way. ETA three minutes,” she responded.
As she drew up she saw an elderly man walking down the landing stage towards her, waving his arms frantically.
“He’s been shot! He’s been shot! I saw him, I saw the man in the black car that did it!”
Sandy got out of her car and reached for her radio.
“Tango Delta, Tango Delta, urgent message. Ambulance required at Sports Rowing Club, Thames Quay. Also, urgent assistance required. Message ends. X-ray Yankee Two One, over.”
The response was short and professional: help was on the way. Sandy followed the hyperventilating man into the boat shed. When she saw the body her eyes widened with shock. The figure lay on his back, arm raised in defense. His features were really just a bloody porridge and there was blood everywhere.
The man was babbling again. Sandy felt at a loss for a few seconds but then her training kicked in. She had to get herself and the situation under control quickly. It was obvious that the man on the ground was way beyond any help that anyone could offer.
“Sir, I need you to calm down. Take a deep breath and tell me what happened.”
“I heard a bang, sort of like a flare going off.”
As he spoke, Sandy heard sirens in the distance – the cavalry were coming, thank God! She was well out of her comfort zone on this one. She looked towards the doorway. As she did so she was relieved to see the duty officer, Inspector Anderson, come striding in. Anderson was a no-nonsense copper near retirement and, although not the most politically correct man in the world, someone the troops looked up to as firm but fair. Sandy knew she was okay, no matter what, if Anderson was in charge. He took in the situation straight away.
“Right, PC Williams, have you touched the body? No? Good. Okay, you take this gentleman outside.” Then, turning to the area car crew: “You two! Secure the area. Only paramedics and medics in and out and remember to take a list of who goes in and out. Don’t just bloody stand there, move!”
When Anderson was in this frame of mind, you jumped – he was very clear what he wanted to be done and when. He strode over to PC Williams. The old man was getting over his shock and was resuming some of his bluster.
“How long am I going to be kept hanging about here? I’ve got things to do. I’ve got to take my dog for a walk.”
Anderson snapped at him, “Just at the moment, sir, we’ve got a murdered man in there. If it was murder and the only person who saw anything was you. Now, I think it only reasonable for you to give us all the details we need to help us, don’t you agree?”
The sharp tone of Anderson’s voice silenced the old man’s protestations about needing to walk his dog.
One of the paramedics approached Anderson and said, “Life very definitely extinct; job for the coroner’s officer now. And oh, by the way, looks like two shots to me. Nasty.”
As she was speaking Anderson noticed another car draw up and the duty CID officer got out.
“Morning, guv, what we got?” the duty detective constable asked cheerily.
Anderson replied, “Looks like a shooting. No weapon; no identity on the victim yet; one witness, maybe, over there with PC Williams.”
With that, the detective returned back to his car to make a phone call. Anderson thought to himself that it was turning into the usual disorganised chaos that seemed to accompany any incident: everyone trying to get in on the act and make themselves look good.
“God knows how we ever solve crimes with this sort of mess!” he muttered under his breath.
A small crowd was gathering to see if there was anything worth gawping at. A young constable was keeping them back behind the police tape that now festooned the area.
Christ! Anderson thought, Most of the bloody early turn is here. If we get any other incident there simply won’t be any coppers to attend it.
The truth of the matter was that seven constables, two sergeants, and an inspector just weren’t enough manpower for a subdivision of this size. He called his boss. To turn a chief inspector out on a Sunday morning was no small matter. However, come she did and took charge of the scene. In all this, still, no detailed statement had been taken from the man who had called the police in the first place. He was still with Sandy Williams and getting more and more angry and frustrated. The police doctor arrived and was ushered through the cordon with deference and speed as though he had at least another three murders to go to that morning.
The doctor self-importantly confirmed Chris Sessions was dead as if the paramedics might have got it wrong. Not that anybody had actually discovered yet that it was Chris Sessions – everyone was too busy setting up the chain of command, evidence and scene preservation cordons, informing those who needed to be informed, and a large number of those that didn’t need to be informed. The chief inspector made the sound judgment that Anderson was perfectly capable of running this without her, with an instruction to use the special constables who usually came on duty on a Sunday morning. A quick phone call to her own boss to cover her own back, she returned home to a late breakfast with her married boyfriend who’d stayed over last night having convinced his wife he was at a team-building weekend in Telford.
With the chief inspector’s departure Anderson returned to the task of getting people to do their respective jobs. The CID officers were now congregated in a tight little group as though they possessed some inner knowledge about either the perpetrator or the victim. Anderson knew this was rubbish and went over to them.
“Has anyone spoken to the witness being babysat by one of my officers?” he asked sharply.
“Just going, guv. Just discussing the best approach, you know,” replied one of them, a detective constable who Anderson recognized from memory: flash little git, always with a glib answer.
“Well, Constable Cook, I would have thought the best approach would be for you to put one foot in front of the other in that direction and do your job!” Anderson replied nastily.
Cook shrugged and ambled over there.
“So, sir, you saw what happened, then?”
The reaction Cook got was volcanic: “No, I didn’t actually see what happened! What I saw was a man come out through the boathouse door, push past me, get in a car, and drive off. Then I went into the boathouse and found the man lying there with half his head missing. That’s when I called you lot. I’ve been trying to tell you for over an hour and not one of you is bloody well interested!”
Cook became wary. If this guy saw something, and we haven’t asked him what he saw, this could bite us in the arse, big time, he thought.
Suddenly becoming solicitous, Cook asked, “So, where were you going when you heard the noise?”
The man warmed to him; at last, someone was taking notice of him.
“I was looking out my window for the paperboy – I only live across the street. Then I heard this bang, then another. I thought that kids had got in again and were setting off distress flares. That’s happened before, so I was coming over when this bloke came out…” Cook nodded encouragingly, so the old man continued, “He had a bag over his shoulder and was in a big hurry, I can tell you. I got to the landing stage and tried to stop him but he pushed me aside as if I wasn’t there. Big bloke. Well over six feet tall, I’d say, and big with it. Well, then he ran for it. He jumped in his car and was gone.”
“Did you get the car’s plate number?”
“Yeah, I got a number. A black Ford, I think.”
Cook wrote it down, a grim expression on his face. He knew there was going to be serious bother over this. Why wasn’t he asked earlier? A classic uniform cock-up, he thought, completely missing the point that he, too, should have reacted sooner.
He had a nodding acquaintance with Sandy Williams so, capitalizing on this, he asked her, “Sandy, can you radio this through, please?” as he handed her the note with the plate number written down on it.
Sandy turned and walked a short distance away to make the call.
As she went, Cook returned to the witness and asked, “Now, can we go back to the description of the man? What height would you say he was?”
“I dunno; about average, I think,” came the reply.
“And his build – thin, fat… hair colour?” Cook probed.
“Average, I suppose. Sort of brown hair, I think.”
Cook continued to ask questions, knowing the answers were going to be mostly useless.
Sandy returned and said, “No trace of that reg in the PNC.”
She was bustling now, all business. Cook sighed. Another wonderful eyewitness who couldn’t get the vehicle registration right or what the shooter looked like. He hoped for something on CCTV from one of the local businesses. While the initial interview had turned up nothing, at least they had now established who the deceased man was. A car key was found in his tracksuit pocket and Cook was bright enough to go out into the parking lot and use the electronic key fob to see which car it unlocked and hey presto! A quick PNC check gave the name of the car’s owner.
2nd December 2018 at 5:09 pm #70970
Well you’ve certainly got an intriguing extract here. Is this the very beginning of the story? I agree that there may be too many voices here. One of the things that I’ve heard many times from tutorials etc. is not to jump around POV too much. It think you’ve got a lot of info about Chris at the beginning that we don’t really need. If it’s integral to the story you could feed it in later, maybe as the police discover more about his life but really I don’t need to know that he’s well built and an accounts manager who used to be in the parachute regiment right now. It slows the action down. I felt the move from Chris’s voice to the killers was a bit jarring and slightly confusing. Wasn’t sure who’s head I was in at one point. If I were you I would remove the whole section from the old man’s POV. He doesn’t seem like a vital character so he could discover the body behind the scenes as it were, or you could think of another way to have the body found. Otherwise I think your writing style is very good and the police aspects seemed fairly realistic. Hope that helps.
2nd December 2018 at 9:13 pm #70979
Thank you so much for the feedback. It is a huge help. The difficulty from my prospective is that I have realised that I’m trying to report what happened as I filled in my pocketbook that day. Thanks again for the help.
3rd December 2018 at 10:57 am #71015
I agree with Kathryn. A lovely well written extract but having the pov character die mid-scene and the pov shifts stopped me wanting to read on as it was hard to follow. Perhaps you need to identify the main story and who is the pov character and stick to that so you can build the intrigue and questions in the reader’s mind. Still an intriguing plot that promises a good read.
3rd December 2018 at 3:43 pm #71038
Review the first few paragraphs and see how many instances of ‘Chris’ and ‘the man’ you might be able to cut out to make the writing less repetitive.
We know there are only two people in this scene. Referring to either of them as ‘he’ when it is clear to the reader which one you are writing about should work better, especially when Chris is the voice.
Also, you can think of other ways to describe the other guy, such as ‘the armed figure’, ‘the younger man’ etc.
Just my thoughts to make it more interesting!
4th December 2018 at 3:52 pm #71135
My first impression is that it’s really interesting and nicely written. I’m quickly drawn into the sequence of events and want to keep reading. The constantly altering POV is the one thing that is hard to keep up with, and it seems slightly odd to have such a detailed introduction to Chris for him to be immediately killed off. Perhaps it would it work to tell the first paragraph entirely from Alan’s POV?
‘Alan watched silently as Chris Sessions sorted out the one-man skiff he had just pulled out of the river and manhandled back into the club boathouse…’
Chris could even remain anonymous at this stage, waiting for the police to identify him for us later.
The first account by the elderly neighbour is okay, but as I read on it seems unnecessary for us to hear his version of events twice. I would be inclined to wait until we hear his witness statement.
The third paragraph starts off with Sandy but when Anderson arrives the narrative shifts, and continues to drift around, not really sticking to any single POV. In agreement with Kevin, I think that choosing a main character and driving the story from a single voice will make it easier to follow.
I look forward to reading more!
4th December 2018 at 5:30 pm #71153
Can I thank you all for the feedback. It has been so useful and given me prospective on what I already suspected.
4th December 2018 at 5:52 pm #71158
I would cut the whole of the first bit describing the murder. I started to get a bit invested in Chris and then he got killed.
Although I guess that Sandy is the protagonist, I do like the bit with the old man and the fact that he actually meets the killer adds interest. I also liked the bit about the killer asking himself if he is a murderer or an avenger, but maybe you could work that into the scene with the old man. Have the murder muttering “I am an avenger’ – which might also give the police something to work on, as it seems from the beginning section that murder and victim have met before.
Watch your adverbs – in many cases you can make a scene stronger by omitting them and instead making it clear that someone spoke sharply or nastily by what they say, or their body language, or by the other person’s response.
Another piece of advice I have received is RUE (Resist the Urge to Explain). For instance if you don’t say her boyfriend is married but then go on to say he’s managed to persuade his wife he’s away on a team building exercise that whole sentence would pack much more of a punch. Readers are quite perceptive and like to feel in on the action rather than being spoon fed. You can trust them to get it more than you might think.
Keep up the good work!
6th December 2018 at 1:27 pm #71327
Hope I’m not too late leaving feedback on this. It’s an intriguing and atmospheric start to a novel (if it is an opening chapter?) and I would want to read more to find out the murderer’s motivations and what the three other calls are that he is going to make.
I agree with others about point of view. I quite like different points of view though, so would suggest the whole of the first scene is written from Chris’ point of view including the moment of his death (“the last thing he saw was…”) – the Day of the Jackal is full of endings like that (literally!). Then I’d skip over Alan’s POV entirely and have the next scene being the old man hearing the shot and seeing Alan leaving. Of course that means ditching the “three more calls to make” which would be a pity but it would simplify things.
After that I would decide which police officer the scene would be told through and stick to it. You have several strong characters there and lots of interest in terms of what they all think of each other, and that could come across. eg if it were from Anderson’s point of view, he could describe the less experienced PC Williams and how she’s handling the witness, the chief inspector who floats in and out, the cocky CID constable, the self-important doctor etc etc.
So going back to your comment, I don’t think there are too many characters mentioned, but the number of different points of view could be reduced.
I like all the detail about what happens at a crime scene and clearly that’s stuff you know all about which gives the extract authority. I’d definitely want to read more.
Hope that helps.
9th December 2018 at 1:54 pm #72891
There have been a number of comments to ask if my last posting was the opening chapter. It wasn’t, this is the opening chapter and I would welcome opinions, please.
Wendy always enjoyed getting together with the crowd from work. A few drinks, a bit of gossip and a bit of mild flirting. Jessica, her flatmate, was out with a new boyfriend this evening so when someone suggested they go back to a flat for a drink, well why not? They all went to the flat in Notting Hill, one drink leads to another and Wendy stayed much later than intended, on a whim deciding to walk to Queensway tube station instead of taking a cab. She sauntered along in the warm summer night, an attractive figure. Her blonde curls brushing the collar of the severe, almost manly, silk blouse that she had coupled with a shocking pink skirt. Her Bass low heeled loafers were perfect for walking in over the uneven London pavements. The direction of her walk took her into the maze of roads that crowd into the area behind Bayswater Road. Wendy was surprised when a nondescript family car slowed down beside her.
‘How much, love?’ the rather overweight, sweating man called from the driver’s window.
Wendy could smell the mixture of rancid sweat and stale tobacco that wafted from the rolled down drivers window. At first she didn’t understand, then icy realization swept over her. Dumbstruck with anger and disgust, head down she hurried on.
‘Oh, come on, love. You’re nice and I haven’t seen you here before.’
The four young men, on their way back from a club off Inverness Terrace, spoke to her. Asked her if she was okay. They teased her, not in an unpleasant way and wanted to walk with her and generally fooled around. They seemed nice, smartly dressed in polo shirts and jeans, nice shoes. Wendy bussed they been to a decent venue that didn’t allow guys in that wore trainers. Although they a little drunk they were trying to impress her but also each other. They flirted a little but weren’t uncouth or rude. They asked her name, when she told them it was Wendy then the usual Peter Pan jokes followed. Not that she minded, she was used to it and it wasn’t anything new or very original. She walked along with them, not part of the group but not shying away either. Wendy felt safe in their company as she couldn’t get the guy in the car out of her mind.
Disgusting old sod! Who would want to with him – even for money?
She didn’t notice how unfamiliar streets were now, in that muddle of roads north of Notting Hill Gate. It was now late, past the witching hour of 1:30 a.m. when the traffic begins to disappear and the streets empty. Wendy was worried about missing the last tube and that would mean either a night bus or cab. She wasn’t even sure which direction Bayswater Road was now. The guys were still all around her, laughing and joking.
Wendy asked the nearest one, ‘Which way is Queensway Tube from here?
‘We’ll show you,’ the young man replied, he was lithe and fit, shorter than the others with short reddish hair, but he seemed to Wendy to be the leader of the group.
‘Yeah, Nick, you show her,’ the tall one called.
‘Sod off, Chris!” came the rejoinder in that jokey manner that mates have with one another. The young man smiled at Wendy. ‘
Just down here.’
She missed the evil gleam in Nick’s eye as he glanced at her.
‘Aren’t we going the wrong way?’ the third guy asked as he hung back.
Wendy looked back over her shoulder at him questioningly.
‘No, Jimmy, this is right. What do you know about London anyway?’
The fourth guy, John walking alongside Jimmy, Wendy thought of him as the roughest of the group, burst out laughing.
They walked on and turned into Leinster Gardens, a mean square of tall Edwardian houses that were now subdivided into flats, with a couple of seedy Hotels. Wendy was lost now. They crossed the road, it was darker than the main thoroughfare, some of the tall streetlights were not working. As the group walked past the gardens in the center of the square. Nick suddenly gave Wendy a huge shove and propelled her through the gate into the gardens themselves. She sprawled on the grass and, in an instant, Nick was on her. He has a wiry strength. He viciously head-butted her, catching her above the right eye. The world spun! The other men, galvanised by Nick’s actions, crowded around. Wendy tried to cry out but a large hand stopped any sound other than a terrified grunt coming from her. The sound didn’t carry outside the gardens.
Four strong, young men and one girl: it was never going to end well. After what seemed like forever Wendy was lying in the dirt sobbing, humiliated, brutalized, and alone. Closing her eyes, she rolled over and curled up on her side, her arms cuddling her nakedness. Her whole body ached and burned with the bruises the four well-muscled young men had inflicted as they pleasured themselves. They’d used her without a thought for what she was, ripping off her clothes, taking her in turns. She had thought she was safe with them but they’d treated her as that slob of a car driver would have. Is that what they’d thought of her? That she was nothing but a prostitute? One they didn’t have to pay? Would they have done that to a sister of theirs? Or a girlfriend?
Wendy sobbed pitifully, shivering with cold. Feeling so humiliated – and dirty! Becoming fully aware of her nakedness she sat up, suddenly finding movement possible and needing to find her clothes. She couldn’t move without her clothes. There wasn’t much light, no moon and the houses around the gardens by now were all dark. But London always offers a sort of glow and her eyes had adapted to the night. Managing to stand she wrapped her arms around herself and looked around. It all seemed grass and almost at once she saw her top and her skirt, then one shoe, then the other. Her pants were torn, but her bra was in one piece and so was her slip. Last, of all, she found her tights. They, too, had been ripped. Lying by a bush was her bag. Thank heavens they hadn’t taken it. Opening her bag she grabbed at her phone. Dead, the battery had died. Managing to move, she pulled on her clothes, stuffing the pants and tights into her bag. Then she left the gardens. She fled.
Wendy chanced onto to Bayswater Road and saw a cab in the all-night garage.
‘Please, can you take me to Kennington?’
The driver said nothing, just looked her up and down, Wendy realized she must look awful, she was scuffed, dirty, and bruised.
‘I’m a minicab; I’m not supposed to pick you up.’
‘Please, just take me home.’
‘It’s against Public Carriage Office Rules. I could lose my license, I’ll take you for £50.’
‘ I don’t care about your rules, okay, here.’
She delved into her purse and thrust a handful of notes at him.
Wendy climbed into the back of the cab, she hunched in the corner and began sobbing quietly. Her journey was over quickly and she soon found herself on the pavement outside her block of flats. All she wanted was to get clean and forget her filthy ordeal at the hands of those animals. She rushed inside and tearing her clothing off and hurling herself into the shower she manically scrubbed away under the scalding water. Still, her mind would not let the images fade. After what seemed like forever she emerged clean; scraped clean of any vestige of her ordeal but both ashamed and also raging. Wrapped in a towel she scooped up her clothes, her bag, everything about that awful time, and bolted to the rubbish chute like a frightened rabbit and consigned all the items to oblivion. Then she raced back into the shower and continued scrubbing away the nightmare.
Wendy heard the key in the lock, terrified she froze. It would be Jessica coming home but still, the clouds of steam made her cough. Trembling, she drew back further behind the shower curtain.
Wendy heard Jessica call out, ‘Wend! Are you okay, hun? Wendy?’
The bathroom door opened and Jessica started to cough too, a hand opened the shower curtain. Wendy cowered from her flatmate.
“Wendy? Wendy, what’s wrong?” Jessica grabbed her arms and tried to get her out from under the spray that was now soaking them both.
‘Wendy, what’s happened? Tell me, love.’
“The Bastards, they raped me. I trusted them, all four of them. I didn’t know where we were. Those animals attacked me.’ She was babbling now; raging and terrified, all at once. Jessica couldn’t hold her and they staggered into the small lounge. Wendy collapsed on the sofa, drawing her bruised legs beneath her, sobbing. Jessica got her into a towelling robe. Fetching a glass of Southern Comfort, the only spirit they had, she thrust it towards the sobbing girl.
‘Drink this. Now, tell me again what happened?’
Between gulping sobs, Wendy told the whole sorry tale more coherently.
Getting angry, Jessica jumped to her feet and announced, ‘I’m calling the police.’
9th December 2018 at 4:56 pm #72912
Hi Nest, thanks for letting us read the opening of your book. Now I’m intrigued to find out how the two chapters are connected.
The first thing I noticed are conflicting tenses, for example ‘It was now late, past the witching hour of 1:30 a.m. when the traffic begins to disappear and the streets empty’.
It’s either ‘IS LATE WHEN THE TRAFFIC BEGINS TO DISAPPEAR’ or ‘IT WAS LATE WHEN THE TRAFFIC BEGAN TO DISAPPEAR’. One to watch out for as it crops up a few times.
I felt that there was a lot of detail without much emotion, particularly in the first half. Was she angry with herself for staying late, did she really know where she was going, was she feeling on edge and anxious to get home? Or maybe she was too drunk to think clearly about any of those things, in which case maybe she wasn’t taking the situation as seriously as she should. I want to know these things about her!
At first I thought the four men were all in the car, I had to re-read that bit to realise they were being newly introduced.
I would also like to feel a bit more of Wendy’s fear as she realises what is about to happen to her when she is pushed into the garden – back to the topic of emotion again.
It’s perhaps a difficult subject, but one that really has power to emote strong feelings. I think your story might just be a real page turner, great work.
10th December 2018 at 8:17 am #72940
Hi Nest, Thanks for posting this,
My initial feeling is you are starting too early. All the reason for her being in that place can be fed in later and does nothing to hook me in. Is it important to the continuing story? Perhaps start with her being followed by the car an propositioned. As Hannah points out we need her emotions and reactions, her personal impression of the area she is in. Then you can continue and let her choices and actions lead to the rest (ie runs into a worst area, gets lost etc). Build those events more slowly so we can share those emotions and bite our lips as we see them develop.
Keep going. The foundations for a great story are there.
10th December 2018 at 1:32 pm #72989
Nest – who is your protagonist? You have introduced us to a lot of people in these two excerpts.
12th December 2018 at 12:14 pm #73128
It’s a dramatic thing to happen at the beginning of a novel, which is good. I think to draw me in I would need to know more about what might happen next and how it will relate to the rest of the novel. Reading about rape is difficult and I’d need a compelling reason to keep going with it, like some kind of a teaser that will leave me wondering about something and wanting to know more.
13th December 2018 at 12:44 pm #73229
The thing is this is chapter one, the raison d’etre is ion the next chapter. After all, I don’t want to peak too early.
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